Dr. Chiropractor in Huancayo, Peru

By Jackson Mann

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In November, I became THE full time chiropractor at Centro De Quiropráctico Ray in Huancayo Peru.

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It’s a busy clinic. They were without a chiro for a few days when I arrived. so my first day was crazy. I treated 20 or so patients in 5 hours. Here’s how the model works: the patient comes in (no appointments) and meets me. I do a history and physical evaluation. I send them away with my general ideas and they go for therapy with a therapist we have on site here (if appropriate). We use TENS, ice, heat and traction. They return the next day for their report after I’ve had time to review and put together my diagnosis and recommendations. I get stories of how the surgeon is going to operate on them if the pain comes back.  We rely on our staff for therapy and rehab so I focus on assessments and adjustments.

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My first week on the job, I was happy my patient brought his wife and ….pet.

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Chiro is new in Peru so I’ve been on a few television shows. I’ve been told I have that “something” that TV loves. It’s great fun and I’ll be back on in a few weeks.

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This is a pic just before Christmas/Navidad with our friend Julia visiting from Canada on the left, Ruth my office manager in front of her and Erin, my wife on the right.

 

A little bit about living in Huancayo

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My apartment is provided by my boss. It is inexpensive to live here. AND I live down the street from the clinic. Only in South America would you show off a bathroom. But yeah, it’s nice to have the conveniences of a home.

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View from my apartment

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Finding a dentist was pretty easy. It was his idea to take a photo together (maybe for his promotional materials). We may have been the first foreigners to visit him.

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The gym does the trick!

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Insert some metaphor about reaching for the top….or climbing to success

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The ready-made entertainment is a little thin here, but we’re starting to make friends (and of course we’re taking visitors from Canada!… with an extra bedroom all ready for guests).

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The food is cheap and awesome. Ceviche everyday…yes please ($4 Canadian).

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And this town of Huancayo is responsible for one of Peru’s favourite sauces – Huancaina sauce. So there is one claim to fame!

 

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Floating Islands and Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia

By Erin Hancock

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Lago Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and is situated between Peru and Bolivia. It’s a gorgeous area with icy cold water (thanks to the altitude), but best known for the “floating islands”.

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The floating islands are not natural islands. They are built from weaving together moss roots and then applying a generous helping of reeds over top of them. They float – meaning they shift with the wind and the weather but when you walk around the island you cannot feel any shift or movement. You feel as though you’re on a solid land mass with a lot of cushion underfoot.  The Uru people live on these collection of over 40 manmade islands, named the Uros Islands. These are only found on the Peru side of the lake. They had originally built the islands to avoid having to work (be enslaved) by the Spanish and also to avoid Spanish taxes. Now they still avoid paying taxes to Peru. I want to build an island! I wonder of this loophole would work in Canada.

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When visiting, the leader of one of the islands used a model to display how they build the islands. The brown part at the bottom is the mossy roots that are chained and woven together. The green reeds on top are applied regularly as the top layer. The bonuses about these reeds – well, there are two – 1) the kids never get skinned knees when they fall down and 2) the reeds are also edible!

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Much like tofu, the reeds have little flavour on their own but lots of nutrients. They can be eaten raw and cooked.

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The inhabitants now do well simply based on tourism and selling their wares. The houses remain simple on the outside in traditional form, but you’ll find a tv and computer is most every one of them.

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The women wear gorgeous colorful clothing. They sang and danced for us. Textiles are used to share stories and traditions so you’ll find intricate designs.

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We took a boat between the islands. We offered to paddle as the locals worked hard taking a vessel of gringos around the lake. They accepted!

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On one of the islands you can get your passport stamped (above – at the table under the grass umbrella) since the islands are considered an independent area.

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The boat ride back to the mainland of Puno, Peru is peaceful, as the captain navigates the grassy marshes that give way to little water roads.

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Puno is the less well-known destination town on the shores of Lake Titicaca, whereas the Bolivia side boasts Copacabana.

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After crossing the border into Bolivia, one can take a long boat ride out to Isla del Sol, a beatiful, large, inhabited island. There are hotels/hostels/bars/restaurants and lots of hiking paths. We did a short hike and took in the view of the glacier in the distance, Isla de la Luna and the Inca terraces of Isla del Sol itself.

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It would be worth spending a few days on the island, maybe writing your memoires, drinking cervezas…just suggestions. Cheers

Top of the World at Machu Picchu

By Erin Hancock

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Machu Picchu is known the world over for its’ spectacular location in the mountains of southern Peru, as well as its’ intricate structure – a whole town of stone, that makes the most of the landscape.

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So to visit when there’s the least amount of tourists and the best views, get there early! See our chipper (ok, a little put-on) faces at 3:30am.

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We did the 1 hour hike straight up the mountainside from the little town of Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. By half way up (shown above), we had a lot of colour in our faces!

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We made it! There are 3-5 day hiking options to get to the magnificent destination, but we opted for bus and train from Cuzco and then just the morning hike. No regrets.

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Lots of tourists have this shot (perhaps one of the most epic selfies), but that didn’t stop us.

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In my opinion, Machu Picchu is not an overrated tourist destination. It’s beautiful, the tours are informative and the air is fresh (and after traveling by bus in dusty towns with tons of engine exhaust, that was appreciated). Catch a little of what I learned in the video below.

 

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Take your time to take it all in. Additional hikes are available – be sure to book ahead of time as there is a daily limit to protect the area (for that amazing view from way above Machu Picchu). We walked all around, did a tour, peered over and out for what felt like a long amount of time….and we were still back down the mountain by 9am 🙂

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After hiking back down the hill to Aguas Calientes, treat yourself to a dip in the hot spring pools.

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Grab a cheap (and yummy) bite to eat on the way back down from the hot springs on Avenida Hermanos Ayar ($3-5 USD for a 2-3 course meal with a drink). Then tour the great markets in town and enjoy a cold drink – beer or pisco are both readily available.

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You might find a gem like I did at the market! A hat and ear muffs….couldn’t hear a thing!

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Visiting Cuzco, Peru

By Erin Hancock

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Cuzco is one of Peru’s loveliest places to visit. It’s a mecca for succulent cuisine, the closest big city to Machu Picchu and a great place to learn salsa (once you’ve adjusted to the altitude of course).

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The markets are full of colourful wares, alpaca wool sweaters and semi-precious jewelry.

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One of our favourite restaurant was Tinta, a little spot with kind staff, great art and yummy food near Plaza de Armas.

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We finally tasted the chicha (purple corn juice) that is a staple in most Peruvians lunch menus. We asked for unsweetened chicha (something fairly uncommon as the drink usually comes extra sweet) and it was a tart, refreshing drink.

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It’s easy to make friends while staying at one of Cuzco’s social hostels. We were pleased to make some new friends and new memories while staying at Periwana hostel. Karaoke has a way of bringing people together….and bringing out some amazing dance moves! Thanks for the pilates session Sonia!

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We celebrated American Thanksgiving with David, Sabuat and Soni[t]a. No turkey, but lots of talk about how we’re all so thankful to be able to travel. #givingthankstogether

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Cuzco at night is stunning with the mountains in the background. Be sure to head up the hill and take in the whole city at night. Although you’ll be chasing your breath for a bit once you get to the top, the view is worth it (vale la pena as they say in Spanish).

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Thanks for a great visit Cuzco!

Colca Canyon and Condors, Peru

By Erin Hancock

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Peru is a nation full of different landscapes, different elevations and so much natural beauty. If you head by land from Lima to Machu Picchu then be sure to make a stopover in Colca Canyon (a common tour for those stopping over in Arequipa). If you love the scale of the Grand Canyon, this canyon is over twice as deep!

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Be sure to prepare for the altitude. This means taking every opportunity to drink mate de muna (the herbal tea shown above), chewing on coca leaves, eating little, drinking lots of water and taking it easy overall.

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There are tons of opportunities to see the terraces carved into the mountainside. These Inca “steps” were built to create better farming application in the Andes. Different steps were at different elevations, therefore with a different temperature and different sun and rain exposure. This means different crops can grow on different terraces. Smart.

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The canyon is full of birds….as well as ‘entreprenuers’ giving tourists an up-close-and-personal experience with the birds like the above pic of Julia. In the photo above, right you’ll see holes in the canyon wall where some birds build their nests. Great location to stay away from predators.

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The more famous of the canyon birds is the condor. Unfortunately it’s a waiting game to see a condor pass. If you squint, you’ll see them in the distance in the above photos. You’ll recognize the song below that commemorates these national treasures.

 

And the 1970 version by Simon and Garfunkel is more popular in North America.

 

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And the birds aren’t the only fun creatures to observe in the Colca Valley.

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Llamas, alpacas and vicunas are pretty adorable animals to see up close. And when petting a vicunas, you understand why their wool fetches so much more at market (mas suave).

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After a day of hiking, touring or simply coping with altitude sickness, one can kick back in the hot springs.

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There are many small villages in the valley that while simple, are friendly to tourists. In Chivay, we took in some local music and dance.

My friend Julia was lucky enough to get selected to participate. Great spirit Julia!

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Alpaca meat is readily served at most restaurants, but we opted for quinoa soup.

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The town squares are a key part of all of the villages and towns. It’s where people gather, where school children dance together and where vendors pedal their wool products. But much like the rest of the world, no town (no matter how small or remote) would be complete without an Irish pub (above, right photo). That’s right – not an Irish person to be found – but the pub existed. And we certainly made friends and brought the Irish spirit to the pub.

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All in all, a couple of great days in the canyon. Most hostels/hotels in Arequipa can arrange a tour or trek to the canyon. Keep the altitude in mind when planning to trek. You’ll feel 30 years older and move a lot slower, so pace yourself.

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Beautiful Peru (more posts to come)